Gaffney, Stanford run past Army

Everett Merrill, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- After taking a season off to play baseball, Tyler Gaffney of Stanford appears to be in full swing on the football field.
The senior running back rushed for 132 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, and caught a scoring pass in No. 5 Stanford's 34-20 victory over Army on Saturday before 39,644 at Michie Stadium.
Gaffney has gained 236 yards this season for the Cardinal (2-0). He returned to Stanford for his senior year after a stint in the summer of 2012 with the State College (Pa.) Spikes, Low Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted him in the 24th round.
Gaffney missed Stanford's 2012 season, when it captured the Pac-12 Conference title and won the Rose Bowl, but his transition back to football has been seamless.
"It's been a surreal experience to be out there," Gaffney said. "It's great to be with family. These guys around me make it easier. It's like riding a bike."
Gaffney's one-yard touchdown bolt with 9:59 left in the game gave Stanford a 34-13 cushion.
"When he came back, he looked stronger," Stanford coach David Shaw said of Gaffney's return this season. "It was obvious that he was lifting like a football player, not a baseball player. No disrespect to baseball players.
"He's been staying in shape. He's loving the game of football. He got what a lot of us don't get, a year away from the game you love and the chance to play it again."
Army (1-2) ran the ball out of its triple-option with efficiency against the country's third best team against the run, the Black Knights piling up 284 yards.
Stanford yielded only 35 yards on the ground in its season-opening win over San Jose State, 34-14.
"You face it all week (in practice) and try to get the best look you can, but you're not going to get the real look until you play the game," Stanford defensive end Josh Mauro said of Army's triple-option. "It's a different type of game to adjust to."
Mauro led Stanford with seven tackles.
"(Mauro) made some plays I haven't seen guys make in a while, as far as beating the center and grabbing the dive, then grabbing the quarterback and taking two guys out in the same play," Shaw said.
"I loved watching him play today."
Quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 11-of-18 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinal.
Terry Baggett paced the Army ground game with 100 yards on nine carries.
The Black Knights were moving toward a potential game-tying score midway through the third quarter, but quarterback Angel Santiago fumbled at the Stanford 43-yard line and linebacker James Vaughters recovered.
Santiago and A.J. Schurr split time calling signals as Army coach Rich Ellerson hasn't settled on a starter three weeks into the season. Schurr and Santiago combined for 49 yards passing, completing 6-of-10 passes.
"It doesn't seem that each one has played a lot to make a determination as to who should be starting," Ellerson said of the two quarterbacks.
"Right now, we're still determining if there is going to be a clear cut No. 1 quarterback, and if so who that is going to be."
Stanford took advantage of the turnover, moving 57 yards in eight plays, capped by a 23-yard scoring pass from Hogan to a wide open Gaffney out of the backfield with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter to take a 27-13 lead after Jordan Williamson's extra point.
The Cardinal offense began to click in the second quarter.
Their massive front line that averages 298 pounds was able to free up the running game, while providing Hogan with enough time to pass for 125 yards and a touchdown, leading Stanford to a 20-13 halftime cushion.
Hogan's 46-yard bomb to wide receiver Ty Montgomery enabled the Cardinal to move ahead, 14-6, on the first play of the second quarter, before Williamson tacked on two field goals later in the quarter.
Stanford went 51 yards in nine plays on its next possession that ended with a 31-yard field goal from Williamson to make it 17-3.
Army countered with a balanced drive that culminated with Larry Dixon's 15-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left in the second half, before Williamson's 47-yard field goal pushed the Cardinal lead to 20-13.
Hogan engineered a 75-yard, six-play drive to give Stanford its first lead, 7-6, in the first-quarter. He found sophomore wide receiver Michael Rector on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left in the quarter.
Army grabbed a 6-0 lead when Daniel Grochowski kicked first quarter field goals of 39 and 48 yards on its first two possessions of the game.
The first score was set up when nose tackle Richard Glover recovered Hogan's fumble.
Stanford has forced a turnover in 26 consecutive games.
NOTES: Army hadn't hosted a ranked opponent since a 28-21 loss to No. 22 Iowa State on Sept. 23, 2005. ... The Black Knights haven't beaten a ranked team since a 17-14 victory over No. 15 Air Force on Nov. 4, 1972. ... The last time a team ranked in the top five played at Michie Stadium was in 1962 season, when Army beat No. 3 Penn State, 9-6, on Oct. 13. ... Army coach Rich Ellerson was a defensive coach with Arizona from 1992-2000, when it went 6-1 against Stanford. ... Army senior running back Raymond Maples is seeking to become the second player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. ... John Elway, former Stanford and Denver Bronco quarterback, was on the Cardinal sideline.

What to Read Next